Much has been made of Chelsea’s below average defensive record under Frank Lampard, but after keeping 3 consecutive clean sheets, can we finally relax?
As pointed out by Lampard in a recent press conference, our in-play defending hasn’t been that bad, only Manchester City have seen fewer shots on target than Chelsea, the major problem at Stamford Bridge (and away from home) is that far too often those rare shots on target resulted in goals.
Kepa Arrizabalaga’s shot save percentage would be laughable if not so tragic. The worst in Europe’s major five leagues, not the only factor in our poor defensive record but a pretty big one.
Replacing him was obviously a key focus over the summer break and the eventual signing of Edouard Mendy seemingly coming out of no where.
Listening to this weeks Fancast, Chidge remarked “he’s just so good isn’t he”, a common theme among Chelsea supporters that Mendy is the next great Chelsea goalkeeper.
The fact Kepa set the bar so low obviously helping Mendy become an instant favourite. Yes he has made one or two really good saves, but other than that has anything else he done really been anything other that routine?
His distribution hasn’t really impressed me and I wouldn’t be surprised to see another goalkeeper arrive before the start of next season.
Having said that, he became the first goalkeeper since Petr Cech to keep 3 consecutive clean sheets in his first 3 league games and as Cech says, we haven’t seen the best of Mendy yet.
Which is reassuring because I don’t personally believe we’ve seen anything to get really excited about yet.
The major impact of having Mendy behind the defence of course is now we can finally say, and relax.
In front of him, another new signing has helped stabilise the defensive unit. We all knew Thiago Silva’s quality before we signed but there were some legimate concerns he could do it in the Premier League at 35.
I think he’s answered all those concerns.
We all said at the end of last season that if we could we would sell all of our centre backs, as none held the quality to be that number one established defender.
Silva is that type of defender and he elevates those around him to a higher standard. He’s able to talk Kurt Zouma, who has no football brain, through 90 minutes and come out with a clean sheet.
Managed properly to keep him fresh and he’s another where you can say, and relax.
And that’s not to discredit the work of Lampard and the coaching staff. Summer addition Anthony Barry has clearly helped our defence from set pieces.
You’re not thinking we’re going to concede every time the opponent steps into your half. In fact I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever concede again.
We can start focusing on those attacking delights such as Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and the rest.
Put your feet up, and relax